Libertarians and liberals
Thing is, nobody outside the libertarian domain itself is much interested in abstract theories. We’re interested in the practical consequences of applying the ideology.
I had strong libertarian leanings many years ago. Maybe I was fooling myself, but back then it seemed like libertarianism really did emphasize individual-freedom issues like decriminalizing drugs, defending abortion rights, and resisting the enforcement of religious taboos (homosexuality, etc.) through civil law. Now individual freedom has been relegated to a side issue and libertarianism is just about cutting taxes and gutting the kind of regulatory structure that differentiates us from a Third World country (I don’t deny that some regulations are irrational or ineffective, but libertarianism goes beyond wanting to cut out just those). If you point this out, you’re met with a blizzard of sophistry re-defining freedom in such a way that economic abstractions constitute a greater infringement on it than government efforts to dictate what individuals can and can’t do with their own anatomy do. If you point out that libertarian policies would allow inequality to get even worse, you’re met with more bloodless abstract claims that you shouldn’t object to rising inequality, even if reaches Latin American levels. This is neither persuasive nor appealing to anyone who doesn’t already support the ideology.
Ever since libertarianism allied itself with the Republican party, now dominated by anti-science theocrats, it has de-emphasized those aspects of its ideology which clash with theocracy.
The modern face of libertarianism is people like Ron Paul, who is against abortion and is therefore immediately disqualified as a supporter of individual freedom no matter what else he believes, or Rand Paul, who has objected to the application of desegregation to private businesses. He had solid libertarian grounds for doing so — which discredits libertarianism. A lot of modern libertarians take Ayn Rand seriously, for crying out loud. The fact that liberta- rians continue to tout Ron Paul despite his opposition to abortion shows that individual freedom is no longer their guiding principle.
If libertarians had their way, there would be even less of a social safety net than there is now, and even less constraint on the ability of large private interests like employers to abuse individuals. Under libertarianism, I would have less security and less freedom in a practical sense than I do now. And don’t even get me started on what the open-borders nonsense would lead to. Yes, my taxes would be a lot lower, but that’s of negligible importance by comparison.
It’s not about theory or ideology. It’s about practical real-world consequences. Libertarianism as currently self-defined, with its current leadership, is far too toxic to be a potential ally.
I think I got my point across to at least some extent; if anyone else wants to jump in, just follow the link.